Ekklesia Epignostika Seminary
An alternative, esoteric Christian seminary with apostolic lineage
The Seminary has been established in order to prepare suitable candidates for service in The holy universal ("catholic" means universal) apostolic Church as clergy - specifically, for women and men who wish to go through Holy Orders and be ordained as deacons and priests. The Holy Orders program was created in May, 2009 within the Esoteric Interfaith Theological Seminary, a legally recognized seminary with authority to grant religious degrees.
This is a rigorous and stimulating program whose emphasis is upon authentic gnosticism as it was established by the Venerable and Holy Jesus Christ and disseminated unchanged by the original Apostles. This program contains certain authentic Cathar teachings, but is not associated with the many contemporary “Cathar” organizations extant today. We use the term Cathar and Catharist to emphasize the pure* and primitive** gnostic character of the teachings and their dependence upon valid Apostolic Succession.
The program is Paradosis-based rather than Scripturally-based. Paradosis refers to the sacred mystical sacramental traditions that are transmitted directly from teacher to student and which historically preceded the composition of scripture and formation of the churches. We do rely upon Holy Writ yet acknowledge at the same time that it is of little value outside of the context of the Paradosis. While we most certainly respect and revere The Bible, we nevertheless do not believe it to be the infallible Word (Logos) of GOD. Instead we hold it to be a compendium of man-made writings inspired and informed by the Holy Spirit, or rather the Invisible Essence of the Trinity (our Trinity is the Father, Mother and Incarnation. The Incarnation consisting of Yeshua and possibly Magdalene, who were incarnations, or more accurately a single incarnation in two bodies, because they were soul-halves of one soul, the Logos-Sophia. So you can view the Trinity as a Quaternity consisting of four "beings", or as a Trinity. How's that for confusing?).
As semi-gnostic esoteric alternative Christians (howabout "eclectic"), we maintain an open Canon of Scripture that includes the Old and New Testaments, the Jewish and Christian Apocrypha, Jewish-Christian Pseudepigrapha, as well as all of the Gnostic and Dead Sea literature. We are also mindful of the many writings of contemporary Gnostic-Christians. Unlike the majority of Christian confessions, we do not rely significantly upon the teachings of Paul, whom the earliest Christian leaders held to be a false apostle. And most certainly, we do not believe his discourses to be the equal of the words and logia of Jesus Christ.
Rather than slavishly attempting to imitate Sacramental Orthodox Catholicism by slightly rewriting the many available public liturgies with what are deemed to be appropriate gnostic insertions, we hold to a different formula. We deem all of the public traditional sacraments as exoteric mystery plays that were created by well-meaning clerics originally to guide an illiterate and poorly educated body of believers in order to maintain group/church cohesion. The original esoteric Mysteries (Sacraments) were reserved for the spiritually mature, religiously informed church members. They are/were performed privately and form an essential part of the Gnostic Apotheosis formula. These Mysteria were never written down, although bits and pieces of them can be gleaned from Holy Writ, albeit in highly encoded and garbled, incomplete form. If the would-be seminarian is seeking to be formed as a Roman Catholic clone, the Ekklesia Epignostika Theological Seminary would probably not be a good choice for him/her.
We admit all qualified applicants, irrespective of race, creed (or lack thereof), color, nationality, marital status, gender, sexual orientation, or religious affiliations. Applicants should be high school graduates at the very least. However, with regard to affiliations, we expect that our seminarians will not mix spiritual methodologies culled from other religions or New Age teachings with our system of spiritual formation. Such mixing together shall impotentiate our Valid Teachings. If one wishes to serve as alternative Christian clergy, then s/he must first and foremost become an alternative Christian to begin with and not a neo-unitarian New Ager. This point cannot be overemphasised.
The curriculum of the Ekklesia Epignostika Seminary is based upon a series of eight core course components that one will study over the course of one to two years. The two-year benchmark is not set in stone. Extraordinarily experienced and matriculated pastors and other religious can complete the program in less time, although each one must demonstrate competence in the core areas. One can also transfer acceptable Seminary coursework to lessen the time of matriculation.
Courses will address concepts of:
1) Philosophy - cosmology, ontology, theodicy theognosis, christology and epistemology;
2) Understanding of the Gnosis, gnostic, Gnostic and Gnosticism, and the ultimate meaning of Epi-gnosis;
3) History of the Christian Church as interpreted by Gnostic-Christians throughout the ages;
4) Theories and praxis of the Divine Liturgy as well as the liturgies and formulae used in connection with the six other Sacraments, critiqued as exoteric faith expressions as well as esoteric gnostic graded revelations;
5) Detailed study, research, applied hermeneutics and critical analysis of all Scripture, Council Writings, regardless of source, from an informed Gnostic-Christian, alternative, esoteric Christian worldview;
6) Practical training for one to serve as a deacon, an archdeacon, a priest, an archpriest, etc. in the basics of effective liturgics, homiletics, appropriate attire and demeanor, home church as an ancient/renewed practice geared to these modern times, ministry in hospitals, prisons, forming and conducting alternative Christian study faith communities, or in service to other dispossessed peoples which the mainstream churches have all but abandoned, and Spiritual Direction. This list is by no means exhaustive. Hopefully, from the start, each seminarian will actively involve her/himself in a viable ministry or will create one.
7) Researching, composition, and written presentation of a master’s level thesis and oral defense of same; and,
8) Most importantly, a consistent basis of spiritual development praxes that are gnostic, alternative Christian in character, beginning at the time of admission, continuing throughout seminarial training, and hopefully maintained after graduation and ordination.
All of these eight components will be addressed in a graded eight-fold course curriculum, each one building on what is learned in the prior course. As the Seminary develops, there may be a need to add elective coursework or additional requirements as seen fit.
It should be noted that this preliminary description of the Ekklesia Epignostika Seminary’s program is subject to change.
*The word “cathar” is derived from the ancient Greek katharos, meaning “pure or purified”. The name has been used during many periods of history to apply to a variety of Christian dualist sects. The Reformed Catharist Seminary retains exclusively the concept of “pure, unsullied” and does NOT refer to the Albigensian Churches of the same name or modern day Cathar faith communities. (But we are very friendly toward historical Catharism, incorporating many Cathar elements in liturgy and practice).
**”Primitive” is used here in the sense of “first or earliest of its kind; cf. primus-first” of the True Assembly of the Children of Light which was founded by Yeshua Messiah/Jesus Christ. It does NOT refer to primitive cultures or practices or to anything subhuman!
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